Health promotion in the workplace
Vital power in the Uniqa Tower More and more company bosses realize: Health promotion at the workplace is the key. The number of days off sick falls dramatically, while motivation and performance increase significantly. MEDIZIN popular has taken a close look at the precautionary measures taken by the insurance company Uniqa and convinced itself of the job satisfaction of its employees.
Margarete Sobolewski works at the headquarters of the insurance company Uniqa, located in the tower of the same name in Vienna. She has a lot of computer work to do. “On my first day at work, my armchair, desk and screen were prepared for me so that everything was exactly tuned to me and fitted very well. I’ve never experienced that before. “What else is the young woman happy about? “I think it’s great that there are so many plants everywhere, and that there are recreation areas with water dispensers on each floor. You can drink for free as much as you want. “Sobolewski’s colleague Markus Maurer is similarly enthusiastic. He claims a special offer from the company: “We have the opportunity to train at a reduced rate in the gym that is in the house. I go there immediately after work three times a week and do strength training. “Those problems that result from a predominantly sedentary activity often, such as tension or a pinching in the cross, he knows not.
Also Uniqa employee Elfriede Altin likes to sport and has already participated in a so-called Vital-weekend. We can get it cheaply through the company. I was in a wellness hotel, rested, attended lectures and got tips on how to best feed myself or what sport I do to stay healthy. That has brought me a lot, and for all my life. I have to say: we’re just fine here!
Vital club with vital coaches
The health-promoting measures for the approximately 6500 Uniqa employees throughout Austria are organized by the company’s own Vital-Club. Club Manager Antonia Arnold lists what all this has to offer: “Apart from the Vital Weekends, we also have free Vital Days with health lectures. We also invite people to have their fitness tested for free. “Anyone who chooses to do so will receive a profile of strengths and weaknesses and, on request, a nutrition and exercise program that the vital coaches will tailor to their individual needs.
Then there are, according to Arnold, various other activities such as the Vital Tours, where a truck, in which health checks take place, is driven throughout Austria. Also on offer: a smoking cessation program, the free arrangement of massage appointments, free rental of balls, free brochures informing you about various health topics, and much more. “And sometimes our health coaching just looks like we’re putting a jug of water or a basket of fruit to work for our employees.”
Exercise, nutrition, mental fitness
Apples, bananas, pears, salads and other healthy food can be found at the lunch buffet on the ground floor of the Vienna head office. And the vital tip of the day is specially marked as a special service, be it zander fillet on Monday, turkey escalope on Tuesday, vegetable strudel on Thursday. What the employees still wish for, they should soon get: More wholegrain alarm clocks in the Jausenautomaten and a smoking ban in the recreation areas. The Uniqa Vital program focusing on exercise, nutrition and mental fitness has been around since 2005. Arnold: “In the meantime, every day I get at least one e-mail in which one employee thanks for our offers, and more and more are doing so Colleagues in our actions with. This not only makes them healthier, it also welds them together, and so increases job satisfaction.”
The employers also benefit
Whether ergonomic-ideal workplaces, back-fitting workshops, healthy nutrition in the canteen, programs for smoking cessation or anti-stress measures: More and more company bosses care about the health of their employees. Dr. Arno Brugger, medical director of the Occupational Health Service in Salzburg, commented: The aim of the measures is to ensure that every single employee in the workplace is well and well, both physically and mentally.
The positive effects are felt not only by the employees, but also by the employers. Dr. Brugger: “As we know, some time after the introduction of health-promoting measures, the number of days off is reduced by twelve to 36 percent.” That alone brings cash: with one euro invested in the healthy workplace, companies save two to four Euro. In addition, the employees experience the care of the employer as an appreciation – with the result: Willingness to work and work performance increase and with it the income.
Unfortunately, exemplary companies in this country are still exceptional. Experts estimate that at most one third of employees in Austria enjoy health promotion measures in the workplace. There is a lot of catching up to do, especially in the hospitality, trade and construction sectors and, in general, in medium-sized and small businesses,” says dr. Brugger. “We often have to be satisfied if at least some of the requirements for a healthy workplace are met.
These requirements include that the furniture is adapted to individual needs, that the indoor climate is perceived as pleasant, humidity and temperature promise the staff, there is no noise. In addition, noise, pollutant and heat emissions emanating from equipment such as printers, servers and copiers should be minimized. Also absolutely necessary: work processes, occupational hygiene conditions as well as rest arrangements must appeal to the employees.
Negligence with consequences
What happens, where too little or nothing happens, knows Brugger, who is also a general practitioner, only too well: Workers with seated activities on the computer often have pain and tension in the entire musculoskeletal system and eye problems. Employees in the hospitality, trade and construction sectors suffer from standing and walking too long, often getting varicose veins or edema. Workers also complain of heat, cold or drafts, bad air and noise in the workplace, have skin diseases, rheumatism or joint pain as well as sleep disorders and heart and circulatory problems. Anxiety, nervousness and depression are then triggered by work when it is associated with stress.
But what can affected people do that are not well-to-do mentally or physically? Dr. Brugger: “Employees can either get help from the works council or directly from the Occupational Health Service, which is available in all federal states. And employers who want to improve the situation in their companies, get us an independent and detailed advice on suitable packages and the costs.
Source: Medizin Populaer